You thought the cameras were off. You thought the ghosts were gone. You thought the nightmare was over.
You were wrong.
The first teaser trailer for "Paranormal Activity 2" premiered online on Wednesday (June 30), offering a startling way to start the day for working stiffs across the country. But even though it feels like the horror sequel is emerging completely out of left field — indeed, it was less than a year ago that the lucrative cult phenomenon first hit theaters — there have actually been several moves behind the scenes to bring "Paranormal 2" to the big screen.
The real surprise with "Paranormal Activity 2" is the fact that the film even exists. The original Oren Peli-directed film was nothing short of an astonishing Cinderella story, filmed on a shoestring budget of $15,000 and going on to make close to $200 million worldwide. "Paranormal Activity" caused such a stir that ancillary merchandising unspooled almost immediately after the film's release, with talk of a sequel following shortly thereafter.
Of course, getting the "Paranormal" sequel off the ground wasn't without some false starts. The sequel was first announced with Michael R. Perry tackling the script and Kevin Greutert directing the film, while original director Oren Peli moved on to film a new horror film, "Area 51." But Greutert was soon removed from "Paranormal 2" due to his contractual obligations to direct "Saw VII 3-D." Rumors ran rampant regarding Greutert's successor, with "Scarface" director Brian De Palma connected to the job at one point. Ultimately, Tod "Kip" Williams won the role.
The director's chair wasn't the only vacant position that needed filling — the "Paranormal" sequel needed stars, too. Actress Katie Featherston, who was nominated for an MTV Movie Award this year for her "Paranormal" performance, expressed some skepticism about returning for the sequel when she spoke with MTV in May.
"I don't know. I'm waiting to hear," Featherston said. "If they had a way to put me in there in a way that would be reasonable and make sense — I don't know how they'd do that — I'd definitely be down for it. If I get that phone call, I will be there. I will be scared or happy or whatever they want me to be."
Actor Micah Sloat seemed to know much more about the status of "Paranormal 2" than his co-star, despite his character's tragic fate at the conclusion of the first film. "I know a lot I can't tell you," Sloat told MTV News in March. "All I can tell you is I'm very excited for the project, it's really cool, it's gonna be really interesting and it's not gonna suck, which most horror sequels ... would. This is gonna be good."
Sloat touched on a key difference between the two "Paranormal" films: While the first movie was filmed cheaply as a necessity, "Paranormal Activity 2" has access to a far greater budget thanks to its predecessor's success. "We have money now, but we're staying true to the heart of the movie, to the spirit of it, to the vision," he said at the time.
Judging by the recently released trailer, it's clear what Sloat meant in terms of staying true to the vision: The franchise's unique camera perspectives remain intact, if evolved. The scares are sure to deliver as well. Certainly, there are several key details remaining to be filled when it comes to "Paranormal Activity 2," but there's one thing that requires no explanation: The sequel's very existence owes everything to the first film's outpouring of fan support.
"If our fans didn't go online and 'demand' that the movie expand to their own cities, it wouldn't have gone anywhere. If you didn't spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, and tell your friends and family they had to see it for themselves, no one would have cared. It was because of you that 'Paranormal Activity' expanded from city to city, and eventually — when a MILLION of you demanded that it open nationwide — it finally got the wide release we'd been dreaming about for years," director Oren Peli said in a statement released to MTV earlier this year. "Looking back on everything, I can truly say that it was your passion and enthusiasm that made it all possible."
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